Our Team

Our SIMPeds Team comes from leading industries including healthcare, biotech, engineering, education, and customer service and share an intense focus on quality and service among 5 major areas including: Operations, Education and Research, Technical Simulation Delivery and Engineering.



Peter Weinstock, MD, PhD

SIMPeds Executive Director

Anesthesia Chair in Pediatric Simulation Senior Associate in Critical Care Medicine Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Peter Weinstock is a practicing pediatric intensive care unit physician at Boston Children’s Hospital where he serves as Senior Associate in Critical Care Medicine, Associate Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Chair of Pediatric Simulation and Executive Director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program (SIMPeds).

Dr. Weinstock’s work develops training methods and immersive technologies to inextricably link highly realistic practice and preparedness directly to the delivery of high quality, safe care to improve the lives of infants, children and their families. His approach is keenly connected to emotionality and behavioral psychology to understand and optimize human-human and human-technology interactions and relationships. Dr. Weinstock has weaved immersive training/simulation ecosystems into the fabric of medical centers and regional health care systems on 6 continents and is founding president of the International Pediatric Simulation Society (IPSS). He also serves on multiple advisory boards including education, simulation, social robotics and AI, and lectures internationally including TED on preparing world-class clinicians and healthcare enterprises, as well as reducing fear and anxiety in patients and families throughout the healthcare journey.

Dr. Weinstock received his MD from Cornell Medical School, PhD from Rockefeller University in molecular and cell biology, followed by training in plastic and general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and general pediatrics and critical care medicine at the Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

“The ‘game changer’ of simulation lies in its ability to preview, rehearse and ultimately to overcome the ‘unknown’ – thus replacing fear and anxiety, with calm confidence, great experiences and outstanding outcomes in healthcare.”

Catherine K. Allan, MD

SIMPeds Associate Program Director, Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program

Staff Physician in Cardiology, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Allan completed her medical degree and pediatric residency at University of California, San Francisco followed by fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology and advanced fellowship in Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a graduate of the Harvard Macy Program for Educators in the Health Professions and an active member of The Boston Children’s Hospital Teaching Academy as well as the International Pediatric Simulation Society. With over a decade of experience in pediatric simulation, Dr. Allan has grown a career beginning with the helping found team training in cardiac intensive care to now a hospital-wide impact as SIMPeds Associate Program Director. In addition to helping oversee the program as a whole, Dr. Allan serves as clinical lead of SIMPeds Faculty and Curriculum Development programs as well as supports our SIMTest division developing SIM-based environmental safety testing throughout the Hospital.  She has extensive experience teaching Simulation Instructor Training Courses on a local, national, and international level, has served as an international invited lecturer on Simulation and Patient Safety meetings, and has lead international workshops on ECMO Simulation.


Sanjay Prabhu, MBBS, DCH, MRCPCH, FRCR

Co-Director, BCH SIMPeds3D Print Service

Director of the Advanced Image Analysis Lab at Children’s Hospital, Department of Radiology, and Assistant Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School

Dr. Prabhu completed his radiology training in the United Kingdom in 2005 followed by fellowships in Pediatric Radiology in Melbourne, Australia and subspecialty fellowships in Pediatric Neuroradiology and Cardiac Imaging at Boston Children’s Hospital, including focus on epilepsy imaging, functional MRI, fetal neuroimaging, MR spectroscopy and pediatric cardiac imaging. Dr. Prabhu brings wide expertise in 3D modeling on multiple FDA approved commercial and open source software platforms.


Melissa Burke, MS

Burke_Melissa231X300Director, SIMPeds Strategy and Business Development

Melissa brings over 25 years of operations, start up and tech transfer experience to drive SIMPeds as a high efficiency organization. Melissa obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon and a Master of Science degree from MIT following which she worked for Westinghouse Naval Nuclear Program performing research applied to nuclear power, air craft carriers, and  submarines. A self-described start up “utility player”, Melissa has worked at multiple high-tech start up companies, helping them successfully operationalize and establish optimal product-market fit including WebCT, Sermo and Affectiva.

Working closely with SIMPeds Tech, Engineering and Admin management, Melissa leads Strategy & Business Development by applying lean start-up methodologies to continuously advance SIMPeds customer focus and operational excellence. She helps guide funding efforts, business model generation and customer-discovery to maximize the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of educational and other innovations born from SIMPeds

Alyson Cooper, MPH

Director, Operations 

Alyson brings extensive experience in improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery to the SIMPeds team. Her perspective on healthcare is robust, having worked in both local and federal government healthcare programs as well as within other programs at Boston Children’s Hospital. While at the hospital, Alyson has led cross-functional, continuous learning efforts to improve outcomes and value. Alyson holds a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Health Management from Boston University. She also earned a BS in Health Sciences along with a BA in Economics from Wake Forest University.


Heather Hallgren, MBA

Program Manager II

Heather Hallgren is a Program Manager for Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program. Prior to joining the team, Heather was a Senior Project Manager at NICHQ where she oversaw the development and execution of Learning Collaboratives. During this time Heather served as a team lead, which included managing a team of national experts, building systems to streamline operations, and assisting in the development and growth of other staff. Heather is pursuing her MBA with a concentration in Organizational Behavior.


Michelle Slahor

Program Coordinator

Michelle graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and brings several years of medical administrative work with her to SIMPeds. She supports administrative aspects of the program, including course coordination, scheduling and logistics. She facilitates and tracks program usage among multiple divisions and departments to ensure all courses “lift off”, “fly” and “land” safely, effectively, and efficiently.



Sujin Park

Administrative Associate III

Sujin graduated with a degree in Health Science with a minor in Business Administration from Northeastern University. Her various healthcare experiences in administration and marketing at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Institute for Professionalism & Ethical Practice allows her to successfully support those components at SIMPeds.





Education and Research

Christopher Roussin, PhD

Roussin_Christopher[1]Director of Academics and Research

Chris holds a PhD and MA in Organization Studies from Boston College and a BS from Babson College. An award-winning teacher and educator, Dr. Roussin most recently served as senior faculty in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship at Suffolk University School of Business, Boston. Chris has published in high impact business management and social psychology journals on a wide array of topics including psychological safety among work teams. He has also served as consultant specializing in top executive advisory services in areas of team and organizational leadership, change and development across multiple industries.

As SIMPeds Director of Academics and Research, Chris will lead and fortify the broad multidisciplinary curricular and research activities of the BCH SIM Community — representing > 27 divisions and departments. All the while, ensuring access to cutting edge curriculum development and data-driven research to produce the greatest effects of simulation-based training, preparedness, testing and rehearsal on the care and outcome of our patients.


Matthew Taylor, RN

Faculty Development Manager

Since joining Boston Children’s Hospital as a clinical assistant in 2003, Matthew has worked throughout the institution in a number of capacities. He began his nursing career at BCH on a general surgical floor and transitioned to the Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit, where he works on a per diem basis. His clinical experience outside of BCH includes psychiatric nursing, hospice care and long-term rehabilitation. Away from the bedside, Matthew spent time as an Informatics Nursing Specialist on the Clinical Education and Informatics team before joining the Information Services Department as an Application Specialist.

Matthew’s education includes an Associate of Science in Nursing from Bunker Hill Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from San Francisco State University. Prior to his career in Healthcare, Matthew was an Online Editor at the San Francisco Examiner and a night beat reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle.


Brianna J O’Connell, MS, CCLS

connell_Brianna231X300Child Life Specialist

Brianna brings over 15 years of experience working with children, and their families, to support positive coping skills and healthy development through preparation, education and play. Since starting at BCH in 2007, Brianna has worked in various locations including Hematology/Oncology, Clinical and Translational Science Unit and most recently the Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit (MSICU). In addition to her role supporting patient and family coping, Brianna has provided leadership, education and training on child development and coping to staff and students throughout the hospital and area colleges. Brianna’s education experience also includes 5 years as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, responsible for therapeutic programming as well as staff training and education.

Brianna holds a Bachelor of Science in Recreational Therapy and a Master of Science in Child Life and Family Centered Care.

Working with her SIMPeds colleagues and partners from throughout the BCH community, Brianna uses her unique expertise and experience to lead our efforts in Preparing You: Simulation for Patients, Families and Caregivers Phone: 617-919-1710 and Email: Brianna.OConnell@childrens.harvard.edu


Kelsey Graber, MSc

Research Coordinator

Kelsey holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology from University College London as well as years of experience conducting clinically relevant psychological research at the Yale Child Study Center and here in Boston Children’s Psychiatry Department. As the SIM Research Coordinator, she works to organize and systematize the ongoing simulation projects within SIMPeds and in collaboration with various departments at the hospital and in our community network. She also drives forward novel and innovative clinical research related to the efficacy and impact of simulation in medical settings.

Contact me about: SIMPeds past/current research projects, research inquiries Phone: 617-919-1708

                                    Email: Kelsey.Graber@childrens.harvard.edu

Gaia Uman

Research Assistant

Gaia graduated from Connecticut College where she studied behavioral neuroscience and was a selected scholar in the Holleran Center for public policy and community action. Previously, she worked at the Association for Behavioral Healthcare and the neuroscience laboratory at Connecticut College. Primarily her interest is bridging the gap between science and policy. As a research assistant in the simulation department, she supports research components of the program in its conduct, data management, and communication of findings.




SIMEngineering: Development

Stephen Wilson, BSME


Senior Engineering Manager, SIMPeds Engineering Core

Stephen brings over 20 years of experience in medical device research & development and a demonstrated passion for creating new solutions to advance medical care. He is responsible for multiple innovative medical products designs that received patent recognition and went on to achieve notable commercial success. Stephen’s experience includes leading large device development programs and the multinational cross functional teams necessary to develop and establish production of medical devices for worldwide launch. In addition, he has led and managed R&D Engineering teams responsible for the sustaining engineering and new product development of vascular access, neurosurgical and neurotrauma product portfolios.

As Senior Engineering Manager of the SIMPeds Engineering Core Team, located in the Longwood Center at 360 Longwood Avenue, Stephen and his team of engineers are responsible for supporting the SIMInventorSpace™, SIMPeds SIM3D Print ™, and the SIMPeds™ Engineering Core service lines. Education: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Jeffrey Jacobson, PhD

XR Project Manager, SIMPeds3D Print/SIM Engineering

Jeffrey brings over 25 years of experience in research, engineering, and applications of virtual and mixed reality technology. With a doctorate in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh, Jeff is a cognitive engineer, a specialist on how people process information, especially for learning with immersive media (VR, AR, XR, etc.)  He was one of the first researchers to use game technology for VR, conduct empirical studies of learning in VR, and use AR in museums and educational theater. He consulted for years into several industries, especially education, architecture, construction, transportation, and medicine. He is a longtime co-organizer of the BostonVR meetup group (world’s 7th largest), which has accelerated adoption of immersive technologies in Boston. Today, he is a Simulation Engineering Project Manager at SIMPeds, where he prototypes new training tools, oversees production of (XR) solutions we will deploy to the simulation center, and indispensably contributes to our scholarly investigations of XR for medical training and treatment.

Katie Livingston, ME

Simulation Development Engineer II

Katie brings astounding talent in moulage and art combined with formal training in Biomedical engineering to create >50 incredibly realistic trainers for SIMPeds and helps drive our SIMPeds3D Team. Katie also delivers internationally, producing complex simulation productions independent of venue — ranging from hotel ballrooms to international simulation centers. Areas of Expertise: Delivering on-site and in-situ high fidelity simulations, 3D CAD design for trainer development, 3D patient models for pre-surgical planning Education/Certification: Masters in Biomedical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Gregory Loan, ALM


Senior Simulation Development Engineer

Gregory is a veteran of the Special Effects and Simulation Engineering industries—leveraging his skills in mechanical design, robotics, electronics fabrication, programming, and traditional sculpture techniques to create captivating and engrossing training tools.  A classically trained sculptor, he earned BA in Fine Arts at Framingham State University in Massachusetts and Master’s degree in History from Harvard University Extension.  Gregory’s career has included a number of high-profile projects for Universal Studios and Disney, the development of autonomous robotic systems at Vecna Technologies, and the design and production of high-fidelity, electromechanical medical simulation models at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Areas of Expertise: mechanical design; robotics; electronics fabrication; anatomical segmentation and modeling; rapid prototyping/ 3D printing.

Mariah Geritano, MS


Simulation Development Engineer I

Mariah graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a Master’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering. Prior to joining SIMPeds, her research focused on material properties for environmentally conscious 3D printing, and development of 3D printed scaffolds for stem cell differentiation. As a SIM Engineer, Mariah 3D Prints patient-specific anatomy models for pre-surgical models. In addition, she designs and fabricates medical trainers used in simulation courses.

Areas of Expertise: 3D patient models for pre-surgical planning, 3D CAD design for trainer development and materials. Education/Certification: Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering, Stony Brook University, Bachelor of Science in Biology, Stony Brook University

Mona Saffarzadeh, PhD

Simulation Development Engineer I

Mona earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on injury biomechanics. Her dissertation focused on morphological modeling for medical device design which led to 1) development of a high fidelity pelvic anatomical model for colorectal surgery, 2) development of a 3D cardiothoracic model for cardiac pacemaker implantation surgery. Mona brings her 5 experience in medical device design/surgical 3Dplanning/3Dprinting as a graduate researcher working with clinicians/engineers to design and build implants and surgical models at the Center for Additive Manufacturing in North Carolina State University and the Center for Injury Biomechanics at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Today, she is a simulation development engineer at SIMPEDs where she develops models for surgical planning and training. Education: Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering, Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Medicine. M.S in Biomedical Manufacturing, North Carolina State University Phone: 617-355-5830 Email: Mona.Saffarzadeh@childrens.harvard.edu

Lindsey Minahan

Simulation Development Engineer I

Prior to joining the SIMPeds team, Lindsey honed her process engineering skills as a quality project manager for electromechanical orthopedic sensor and digital therapeutic applications in Boston and South Florida. Her time in industry has given her experience solving medical device design and production problems and working with suppliers around the world, from Paris to South Korea. She earned her Bachelors in Biomedical Engineering with a mechanical concentration from the University of Miami, where she worked in biomechanics and prosthetics research labs gaining a deeper understanding of, and passion for, the intersection of engineering and medicine. At SIMPeds,  Lindsey specializes in the design and fabrication of simulation trainers and medical devices.

SIMEngineering: Production

Kaitlyn Nogueira

Simulation Engineer Manager, Technical Operations

In addition to crafting and leading our most complex simulations, Kaitlyn brings years of experience in health care device testing to lead our Tech Operations focused on maintaining high quality assurance for all technical aspects of SIMPeds — including oversight of 100s of mannequins, A/V equipment and materials, as well as all off-site productions and installations, and our diverse SIM Facilities. Kailtyn works closely with our vendors to insure the best resources are available to the SIMPeds community. Areas of Expertise: Delivering on-site and in-situ high fidelity simulation; Technical operations and quality improvement: SIM facility design & development Education/Certification: B.S. Biomedical Engineering, Quality Assurance in the medical device field Phone: 617.919.3525 Email: Kaitlyn.Nogueira@childrens.harvard.edu

Jessica Dinan

Simulation Production Engineer II

Jessi joins the SIMPeds team with past experience working in the medical device industry developing surgical products and collaborating with staff at the University of Cincinnati Hospital to identify clinical needs for new product innovations. Jessi brings this clinical and technical knowledge to the SIMPed’s team to deliver high fidelity simulations. Jessi’s areas of expertise include delivering on-site and in-situ simulations, product development, mechanical design and statistics. She holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.



Duncan Smith-Freedman


Simulation Production Engineer I

Prior to becoming a a full-time SIMPeds team-member, Duncan worked as a summer intern in the Simulator Program, where he specialized in simulation delivery, and helped to launch the Huggable project. Duncan has since earned his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from UMass Amherst, gaining experience through the Biomedical Engineering Lab in circuit and electrical system design, 3D printing, PCB manufacturing and device programming. Now back with the SIMPeds program, Duncan specializes in the delivery of simulation, simulation engineering and the production of 3D printed models of patient anatomy used in surgical pre-planning. Areas of Expertise: In-house and Network Simulation, Electrical System Design and Fabrication, 3D Design and Manufacturing. Education/Certification: BS in Electrical Engineering from UMass Amherst


Meagan Garafalo, MS

portraitSimulation Production Engineer I

Meagan earned her Master’s degree in Bioengineering at Syracuse University, where she was passionate about understanding complex diseases and how to treat them. Prior to joining SIMPeds, she spent several years in the healthcare field as a project manager for Epic, a healthcare software company. There, she worked with hospitals to help guide clinicians through a successful software implementation, and specifically managed oncology, long-term care, and clinical research. Meagan’s experience at Epic helped her better understand the connection between healthcare and technology, and she developed a great interest in how research and patient care can be improved with growing technologies. This passion steered Meagan toward SIMPeds, where she is focusing on delivering high fidelity simulation.

Erin McNeill

Simulation Production Engineer I

Erin graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering and a focus on medical device development and diagnostics. Her past experience in clinical settings has involved medical product analysis through her work at Abbott, as well as several summers spent volunteering on post-operative and general wards at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Her work in technical theatre also helped steer Erin towards simulation engineering. Erin brings her technical and clinical knowledge to work with her here at SIMPeds, as well as her passion for learning to deliver high fidelity simulation. Erin’s areas of expertise include product design and development, various programming platforms (MATLAB, R, Python), rapid prototyping/ 3D printing, and troubleshooting.​



Jeff Burns, MD, MPH

Co-Executive Director, SIMPeds Chief of Critical Care and Chair of the ICU Governance Committee Associate Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School Program Director, OPENPediatrics

Dr. Jeff Burns completed postgraduate training in Pediatrics in 1991, and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine in 1994, both at Boston Children’s Hospital, and is board certified in both from the American Board of Pediatrics. He also holds a Masters Degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Burns was appointed as the first Shapiro Chair of Critical Care Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2005. He is on the Subboard for Pediatric Critical Care at the American Board of Pediatrics, Committee for Admissions at Harvard Medical School and is Co-Chair of the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Burns’ academic work over the past two decades has focused on innovations in postgraduate medical education. He founded the Children’s Hospital Simulator Program in 2000 and the OPENPediatrics program in 2009, which he currently directs.


Patricia Hickey, PhD, RN, FAAN

Hickey_Patty, Ph.D, RN, FAANCo-Executive Director, SIMPeds Vice President Cardiovascular and Critical Care Services Program Director for Nursing Practice, OPENPediatrics

Dr. Patricia Hickey is Vice President of Cardiovascular and Critical Care Services at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Her program of nursing administration research is focused on the linkages among nursing work environment characteristics and risk adjusted pediatric outcomes. Her policy work has been influential at the state level with the development of an interdisciplinary model for legislative action in Massachusetts. Nationally, she is a member of the American Academy of Nursing’s Expert Panel on Magnet Advancement and the American College of Cardiology’s Pediatric Quality Metric Steering Committee. Internationally, she serves on the executive committee of the International Quality Improvement Collaborative for Reducing Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Mortality in the Developing World and she is a senior nurse consultant for Project HOPE at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center.  She is assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and holds faculty positions in nursing at Northeastern University, Boston College, and Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.